Laser Therapy for Arthritis

    • Gold Top Dog

    Laser Therapy for Arthritis

    Tasha, our 12.5 year old chow mix is having some problems. Two months ago when she went to stand up, she couldn't walk. At that time, she was rushed to her primary vet who is very close. They observed no problems, although she peed on the floor coming in and the only other time she's done that was right before the exam when she needed her second knee repaired. We did blood/urine, which were normal.

    It happened again last week. This time she didn't get over it and we took her to the e-vet. She improved a lot during the 45 minute ride, but was still very symptomatic.  As far as the e-vet could see, it was orthopedic. We had her X-Rayed and the good news is that there's no indication of tumors of the spine etc. The bad news is that despite all Tasha's good care, she has arthritis in her knees, hips and spine.

    She's on Deramaxx, and I hope that won't be permanent, but if it is, it is. She'll be seeing a holistic vet, but the vet is on vacation. The holistic vet works at more that one clinic. One of the clinics offers laser therapy.

     Should I make Tasha's appointment there. It's inconvenient, but if better for Babycakes, I'm more than happy to be inconvenienced.

    • Gold Top Dog

    I can't comment on the laser therapy, but here is a good site on arthritis in dogs -

    Here is a site showing products that are available to help Tasha walk (without killing your back) -

    • Gold Top Dog

    *probably* they are using the "laser therapy" on acupuncture points.  Now I do TONS of acupuncture with my dogs, but honestly I **far** prefer traditional acupuncture to the laser stuff.

    The idea is that many humans are afraid of needles and it's "easier" to do it with the cold laser.  But it's honestly just not nearly as effective as regular acupuncture.

    *I* get acupuncture regularly -- have for years (and it was actually a VET who got me personally turned on to using acupuncture for MY arthritis because that's how he deals with his *own* arthritis and he's the head neurosurgeon up at the Univ of Florida at Gainesville.  I took his advice and tried acupuncture for ME and wow -- it helps SO much.

     But one practitioner I went to wanted to use the laser -- and honestly?  It just plain did not help.  Now truthfully I'm not typical -- when I get acupuncture usually I don't feel 'different" until tomorrow.  I usualy don't walk out feeling changed or 'better' right away -- but after I go home and sleep TOMORROW I feel bunches better.

    There are two main qualifying agencies for veterinary acupuncture.  AVAS and TCVM (the Chi Institute)

    The American Hoiistic Vet MA's veterinary locator is at LINK  (if you have a hard time using it holler - it's not user-friendly) but you can see some of the vets who do acupuncture were qualified by either AVAS or TCVM - doesn't make AVAS bad but the AVAS vets tend to like the laser acupuncture, where the TCVM vets are more traditional. 

    I've probalby had 8 dogs (maybe 9 now with Charlie) who have taken acupuncture regularly -- all have had TCVM and none of them have had a hard time with needles.  EAch dog reacts differently -- Ms. Kee Shu and Muffin the Intrepid both used to fall DEEPLY asleep while getting needled -- you'd have to wake them up to get them to leave! 

    There's a video here on of Billy getting acupuncture from Dr. DiNatale.  You'll see David on the floor with him -- the bottom line with acupuncture is, if you stay still it doesn't hurt at all -- if you move that muscle a great deal it can be a bit uncomfortable.  So keeping the dog settled while getting needles is usually better.

    Tink?  She'll jump up in my arms while I sit in a chair and lay in my arms while Dr. D. needles her.  As ebullent and bouncy as she is, she's fine with getting needled.  Luna was a tad distrustful at first but she too is really good.  Charlie was completely unphazed by getting needles last month. 

    There are actually a LOT of things you can do for arthritis -- NutraJoint is my first "go to" -- it's NOT a pain med -- it literally puts the stuff at the body's disposal that it needs to MAKE new cartilage.  it's actually **repair** not just  a temporary plumping up of cartilage.   BUT it takes 2-3 mohths to achieve that.  You don't notice a difference so usually you do it in addition to other stuff.

    If you are doing Deramaxx PLEASE do be giving this dog milk thistle.  Lots of it.  Deramaxx is very hard on the liver -- milk thistle protects the liver.  It's very benign -- it's not going to clash with anything -- in fact it can help the body process the DEramaxx better enough that you may be able to reduce the dose.

     The other thing I'd suggest (and I have LOTS of arthritis of my own -- so this is something I've learned to do for me, and I do it also with the dogs) -- use some sort of non-habit-forming relaxant (a mild nervine herb works best) -- when you hurt you tense up.  Relaxing the muscles when you give an nsaid (like Deramaxx) relaxes those muscles so the nsaid you are giving works *better*. 

    Valerian is easy to give and so is passion flower.  Both are nervine herbs and work well with an nsaid.

    I've got some stuff I've written out about arthritis -- email me if you want me to send it to you (not a PM -- this is an attachment and I can't attach anything to a PM)..

    Giood luck!!

    • Gold Top Dog

     One dog on another forum I frequent had had excellent results with the laser therapy.

    Also ask about Adequan.  It is injectable glucosamine and chondroiton.  RB Marlin was on this for 4 years, it helped so much.  My vet works with me to keep costs down, so I got a script and was able to get it from Drs Foster and Smith for a great price.  A vet tech  showed me where to give the shot (in the thigh, need to avoid one large nerve), so I did it here at home once a month.  Within 4 hours of the shot, Marlin was able to get up on the sofa again.  About 3 days before the next shot was due, he couldn't do it and would ask for help to be put up on the sofa.



    • Gold Top Dog

     One dog on another forum I frequent had had excellent results with the laser therapy.

    It's apparently really individual in results

    • Gold Top Dog

    Thanks to all for your thoughts.

    Tasha will finally see the holistic vet who does both chiropratic and accupuncture next week. I read the radiologist's report and frankly it didn't sound all that bad. Tasha does have moderate arthritis in both hind knees. That's pretty much to be expected in that she had both of them surgically repaired at age eight, six months apart. She has chow legs with a golden's activity level. Otherwise, her arthritis was classified as "mild" which is to be expected in any large breed dog of her age. No narrowing of the spinal discs. I don't see anything that should have caused a mobility problem nearly as strong as she experienced. She's a very stoic dog with a can do attitude.

    I stopped the Deramaxx and she seems fine. She has always been a bit of a picky eater which is how I became a doggie chef, but is eating well. She is demanding walks and is playful. We've resumed our regular walk schedule of two 20 minute walks and one 45 minute walk. They are as much about sniffing and being out and about as they are about exercise.

    I'm starting to think there's something else happening. Tasha, except for her knee surgeries, has always been a very healthy dog. She got her first bladder infection in January, and her first ear infection this last week. It seems as if something is out of balance. I started her on a good probiotic and green tea extract.

    Once again, thanks, and any thoughts would be welcome.

    • Gold Top Dog

    Did the vet train for acupuncture thru TCVM (the Chi Institute) or are they AVAS trained?

     The reason I ask -- the vets trained in TCVM do a completely different diagnostic exam than anything else I've ever witnessed.  They literally fell all over the body comparing "pulses" (literally how fast, slow, sluggish, thready, etc.) from one place to another.  That then leads them to conclusions about what internal systems are out of whack.

    And a dog chiro vet is an incredibly good find -- they can bring SO much relief.

    I hope they find what's out of balance -- it is likely exactly what you said ... a 'balance' problem. Good luck!!  Please let me know! 

    • Gold Top Dog

     I don't have any advice, but hope you will find out what's causing the pain soon.

    • Gold Top Dog

    Sorry I didn't get back to anyone sooner, but we've been hanging out with kind of crossed fingers. Tasha had three occurances of the problem within two months and is now two months free of symptoms.

    The holistic veterinarian didn't feel arthritis was a limiting factor for Tasha. One of the reasons I like this vet is that she takes the time to go outside and actually watch the dog walk. She particularly didn't feel that arthritis was responsible for the severity of Tasha's problem. She recommended turmeric and ginger for Tasha.

    I think we are back to ear infection causing a vestibular problem. Tasha never had a bladder infection in her life prior to the one in January, she never had her teeth cleaned, but had them done right after finishing the antibiotics for the bladder infection. She was then given more antibiotics. I should have had her on probiotics, but didn't.

    I think that probiotics is all this dog needed in the first place to prevent the bladder infection.

    • Gold Top Dog

    I think that probiotics is all this dog needed in the first place to prevent the bladder infection.

    D-Mannose also helps to prevent (not cure) bladder infections.  It keeps bacteria from sicking to the bladder wall.

    • Gold Top Dog

    I think we are back to ear infection causing a vestibular problem.


      Ear infections of the middle an inner ear can cause vestibular disease, but not an outer ear infection. If there's no evidence of an outer ear infection, that usually means the middle and inner ears are okay.  Jessie has had 2 episodes of vestibular disease; the first one in November was severe enough that we took her to the evet, which in our area is Purdue veterinary hospital. The second one, seven months later,  was much milder, but she still had a right head tilt and rapid eye movement.  It really doesn't sound like Tasha's symptoms are severe enough to be vestibular disease;

        Vestibular Disease in Dogs - Page 1

    Vestibular disease can be peripheral or central. There can be several causes;  

       Vestibular Disease in Dogs - Page 2

        Another good link on the symptoms and causes;

       Vestibular Dysfunction - WSAVA 2009 Congress

       Tumeric is a good anti-inflammatory; I give it to Jessie for her chronic bronchitis. It is absorbed much better if you give it with a small amount of pepper though.  I'm glad for the positive update, and hope she doesn't have anymore recurrences.

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